The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hamelman's WW Multigrain **levain only

Mebake's picture

Hamelman's WW Multigrain **levain only

This is a late bake from Hamelman's WW levain, only with yeast being left out. I have done bulk dough retardation for the first time, and it was successful, though it took 8 hours to be reeady to bake following its exit from the 18 hour refrigeration.

The result: The sweetness the recipe usually produces was reduced, and a slightly sour tang replaced. Yummy.


Nickisafoodie's picture

MeBake: Beautiful loaves! 

Question: based on your experience and hopefully not imposting too much, can you briefly help me understand two approaches and perhaps the differences in rise and final taste re sour?  Clearly you hit the mark dead on!

1) the way you did it if I understand it right: bulk cold retardation for the 18 hours then shape loaves and let rise for 8 hours - was the final rise cold too vs. room temp? - would think so given the length of time? pls clarify.

2) compared to : 2-3 hour bulk at room temp, shape loaves, place in basket and in plastic bag, then 8-10 hour cold - one hour on the counter while oven preheats.

I have only done cold rise on the final stage per 2) above when following this Hamelman recipe - with good results and nice sour flavor but not nearly as nice looking as yours.  I am only using my culture and I love a tangy outcome which cold fermenting facilitates.  But after seeing your fab loaves, I am would like to try cold on the bulk instead.  And thus asking for clarification on the final 8 hour rise and any other helpful hints?  brief is fine, again sorry to impose.


SylviaH's picture

Beautiful all around looking loaves, Mebake!  The flavor sounds delicious and the slashes are very attractive.  Yumm, multigrain!  Nice work!


Mebake's picture

Hi ,Nick! and thanks for your encouraging comments! and no, you are not an imposter.

I mixed the dough on the eve of one day (i used lukewarm water, as with the levain), and left it to ferment for 1 hour. I folded it and placed it in an oiled plastic container (7L) and placed the container into a 8-10 c refrigerator. I went to bed, and next day i left for work. I called my wife at 3:30 p.m and asked her to remove the container from the fridge and place it on the counter (room temp. was 25c). I arrived home at 5:30 , and immediately divided the the dough - which was still cool - and covered them. After 1 hour rest, and having realized the relatively moderate hydration and developed gluten on the dough, i began preshaping. 1/2 hour later i shaped and placed into banettons. I covered them in plastic bags and allowed them to ferment totaly at room temperature. I watched them take forever to increas in size, and almost lost hope! But i decided to put a hot damp towel on the banettons in hope of increasing fermentation rate. It worked, the loaves started to ferment faster, but took an almost 8 hours from the time they left the fridge to the time they entered the oven. I made sure the levain was ripe and healthy or i wouldn't have risked the entire time waiting, and it all paid off.

I've tried no.2 many times, but thought of testing my chances with a refrigerated dough in case of emergency. Both ways make great bread Nick.


Sylvia, thanks! Yes, yummy multigrain!

wally's picture

I'll be the overnight retardation led to the reduced sweetness and increased tang.  Beautiful crumb as usual.


wassisname's picture

Beautiful loaves!  And thank you for posting the details of your rising schedule.  It helps a lot knowing how different timing/refrigeration methods are actually working for other bakers, and working quite well judging by the photos!


Mebake's picture

Thank you , Larry! souness is not quite suitable for this recipe, but i'll accept that for the sake of time convenience.

Thank you, Marcus!

MadAboutB8's picture

Nice looking loaves and crumbs. I bake this bread quite often too. I love the grain texture, the honey aroma and its natural sweetness.

I retard my shaped loaves every time, as I don't have time to finish the whole baking schedule in one night. However, the bread is still quite sweet with the overnight retardation.

My recent bake was done with making the WW flour soaker at the same time when I made the liquid levain. I also find that the soaker contribute to sweeter taste and softer crumbs. The details are here :

Does it means that this bread can even be sweeter with the same day bake? I'm already amazed at its sweetness as it is...I'lll have to try that to find out.


Mebake's picture

Thanks, Sue! Your post is a testimony to the virtues of soaking WW. Nice work!

My dough had no yeast in it , and was bulk retarded (before shaping) so the sourness did increase overnight.

I'll have to try the soaker thing with this recipe, thanks for sharing your thoughts Sue.

teketeke's picture

Hi, Khalid!

They truely beautiful!  I admire your crumb always!   I am glad to hear that you got a nice electric oven now!  


Daisy_A's picture

Hi Khalid,

Beautiful loaves! Good to see the sourdough only version as well as one with mixed leavens.

Im particularly interested in your posts too, as you seem to get great results with starter cultures whose behaviour sounds very like my own. Hope I'm not projecting here but if in a hectic week (like last week!) if I don't get to feed my wheat starters they can get proteolytic. In contrast they can be sluggish after refrigeration. Their main redeeming feature? They produce really great tasting bread :-)

i take heart from your post that it is worth waiting for the starter to work and that a great result can be achieved. I need to rethink my scheduling, though as waiting long hours in the evening is a tough call! 

Kind regards, Daisy_A

nicodvb's picture

Khalid, you seem to have solved your main problem!

Fantastic, as and more than usual.

Mebake's picture

Thank you, Akiko.. i just couldn't bear burning the bottoms of my loaves to get nice crust. Had to..

Why thank you Daisy! Iam glad that you find my posts encouraging! Making your starter warm and food happy is the secret behind good bread!

As to the starter, i believe that you are better off maintaining an all white starter with some whole wheat to boost the enzyme count. Not only it is cheaper, as you may use plain flour for feed, it reduces proteaze enzyme activity, and reduces acidity.

The scheduling varies from an indiviual to the other. Bottomline: do your trial and error, and never be afraid of failure, or you may not succeed.

Thank you Nico! I chose to go for an electric oven, for obvious reasons!


Daisy_A's picture

Hi Khalid,

Many thanks for your advice and encouragement!

I've stumbled towards some of these steps. Although I'm not there yet, it's good to have some of the approaches confirmed by a much more experienced baker.

I've found my starters to be much stronger and easier to handle with some whole wheat in the mix. Also I have begun to pay much more attention to the temperature of both starters and dough. At times I have stabilized the tempearture of the proofing dough on a heated dish, particularly on those '4 seasons in one day' British days when temperatures fluctuate so much!

It's still trial and error though, like you say! I am hoping to come through with loaves that look a bit more like your own. I have just purchased an oval banneton so that should help.

Kind regards, Daisy_A